Health promotion aims to engage and empower individuals and communities with language needs to choose healthy behaviours, and make lifestyle changes that reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases and other morbidities. It combines health education with support for behaviour change and enables people to increase control over, participate in and improve their health.
SIS service users are among a demographic of people suffering from the greatest health inequalities and fared the worst during covid. Language and cultural barriers make it difficult for them to access information about their health in a format that is easily understood and challenging to get access to appropriate support for behaviour change.
SIS works with a team of bilingual volunteers, recruited from within language communities, who are trained in Health Awareness, Behaviour Change and Community Development to work with their community through assertive outreach; distributing translated information, delivering presentations and starting conversations about healthy living. They also talk about the health and care services that are available in order to represent the needs and views of their communities in public consultation.
Volunteers staff a fortnightly drop-in (when covid appropriate) providing information and support and help maintain a suit of language specific website and facebook pages.
“The scheme has been fantastic- it is clear that a lot of thought and management has gone into this scheme and the results show this…. I really enjoy the health promotion training which SIS very generously has paid for which has taught me so much about various different issues in the health, care and community sectors.”
Arabic and Spanish Speaking Bilingual Volunteer
“As a result of recent training, I have volunteered to help and take a Health Walk, this is an opportunity for me to promote healthy activities and maybe meet some people in my community and encourage other Arabic Speakers to join in these walks”
Russian Speaking Bilingual Volunteer
“I was excited to be able to ask questions in my own language during the Q&A session about MSK services. SIS followed up by putting me in touch with a specialist practitioner”
Cantonese Speaking Service User